It's the end of an era in the Nintendo game mod community, in particular for the Super Smash Bros. community. Project M, the mod project that originally aimed to bring Melee content and mechanics into the Wii's Brawl, has shut down. For some Nintendo's last-gen effort was a let-down in the changes it made, so the team of volunteers that spent the last five years on Project M were fondly regarded within a community that downloaded various builds millions of times.
Project M has always been intriguing; on the one hand it's a game mod and, typically, these get shut down quickly by Nintendo. Yet despite Nintendo being against the project in principle it never formally forced it down with cease and desist orders. The mod even featured relatively prominently in the competitive Smash Bros. scene for a period, too.
The release of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and its rise in terms of competitive popularity did see Project M get pushed to the side in this scene, and no doubt Nintendo's formal involvement in various events also ended any prospect of Project M still featuring. It still continued to develop and have a lot of fans, though, with its most recent and final build coming out in Autumn / Fall.
In any case, the conclusion of Project M is certainly final, with the official website now simply linking to a concluding message, an excerpt of which is below.
We realize that this will come as a shock to many of our fans. Please, forgive us. Again, it's been an excruciating call to make, but it's been made a bit easier by our satisfaction with the previous and final release, v3.6. We've spent six years polishing Project M, and rather than let it drag on through another several years of dwindling development and change-fatigue in the competitive circle, we're going to consider our work complete.
In the mean time, we plan to be hard at work on new projects, built from the ground up. We can't spill the beans just yet, but know that we're looking towards a fresh start with brand new designs. Rather than splitting our focus, many of us want to dedicate ourselves to this new venture fully. In this way, we hope to maintain the level of quality and professionalism you've come to expect from us.
There's no mention of this move being prompted by action from Nintendo, and we think it's fair to accept that's not the case. If Nintendo was going to aggressively target Project M it would have done so long before now, so it seems that the team behind the game has decided that it's genuinely time to move on.
Will we ever see another mod that gains such popularity and prominence? It's unlikely. Project M certainly made its mark on the world of Smash Bros.
With thanks to Knuckles for the heads up.